In April 1922 three young men came across an old bag of golf clubs in the Town Clerk's office in Chapel Street, Congleton. After concluding their business, the three men amused themselves by hitting golf balls in a field in Howey Hill Lane and before long the idea of forming a Golf Club was born. The club was named Astbury Golf Club with a membership of 64 and S J Forster was elected as Captain. Yearly subscriptions for membership were fixed as follows:
Gentlemen - £1.1s.0d; Ladies - 15/-; Juveniles (15 - 18yrs) - 10/-.
There are no records available but it is interesting to note that another club had previously played on part of the same land. It is believed the earlier club broke up in the early part of the First World War, about 1915.
By 1st February 1924, £200 had been raised to purchase a new clubhouse which was duly opened in June 1924. On the 18th June 1924, the club purchased a horse drawn mower for use on the fairways at a cost of £60. At this time, all greens were fenced off with plain wire to keep cattle off them.
In April 1925, the club appointed Mr John Coppack as club professional from Alsager GC. In later years he won the Bells Award Trophy for the over 80's, at the age of 85.
In March 1930, the club purchased a cup from members subscriptions called 'Astbury GC Championship Cup', later renamed the 'Club Cup'. In May 1933, the Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs fixed the standard scratch score at 66. The par score for the course was also 66. By October 1936, total membership for the club was 153, of which 57 were ladies and 42 gentlemen and the remainder non-playing members.
It was agreed by the Cheshire War Agricultural Committee in March 1941, to let the land off for grazing. Jack Dooley was re-engaged on a part time basis as groundsman and paid 2/- for each tee and green he cut.
During October 1945, the club was informed the War Agricultural Committee was very satisfied with the way the club had carried out its instructions and could now proceed free of any order.
On 17th February 1962, Astbury GC met with Congleton GC and arranged to form a competition called the 'Chronicle Cup' to be presented by the 'Chronicle'. It was agreed the competition would be played over 18 holes at Astbury and 18 holes at Congleton on the same day.
Thursday 3rd June 1965, the clubhouse was burned to the ground. In September 1965, the club purchased a total 38 acres of land on Peel Lane which included a barn. The new clubhouse was located on the north side of Peel lane on this land and this is where it remains today.
The club celebrated its Golden Jubilee in October 1972, which coincided with its extension to an 18-hole course and the clubs contribution to the 700th anniversary of the granting of a Charter to Congleton Borough.
Eric Lester, the club professional, won the Pringle Seniors competition at Lundin Links, Fife in July 1974.
The members at Astbury count their blessings that, as a result of Billy Cartlidge and Harold Dart having amused themselves hitting little white golf balls in a field in April 1922, others are now able to enjoy their golf on a first rate course located in a quiet and delightful part of Cheshire.
There are those who may not remember Les Emmett. During his 63 years as a member he was very much a stalwart of the club and served in most official roles. Les was instrumental in forming the club's Senior Section with its own committee and held the post of 'Skipper' from 1976 to 1987.
The current members have much to thank stalwarts as Les Emmett, Ray Whalley and many others like them for making the club the success it is today.
There have been a number of changes at the club over the last 20 years. One of the biggest took place in 1993 when the board received approval from the members to extend the clubhouse to its present size.
At that time, the club was fortunate having John Hibbert as a member who kindly arranged for Peter Alliss to officially open the new clubhouse in 1994.
Over the years, the club acquired adjoining land alongside the canal by the 5th enabling the hole to be extended. The tee was originally situated behind the 4th green and played as a par 4 to a green where the pond is now situated.
The most recent change has been the construction of the bridge over the canal. This project had been discussed by numerous committees over the years and the main stumbling block was the cost. A solution was finally made and approval given by the local planning authority for the bridge to be erected.
In the late 90's, the club saw the emergence of a talented golfer Andrew Sandywell who rose from the junior section to becoming a professional golfer. From 1997 to 1999, Andrew became the first Astbury player to play on the European Tour. In 2002 the club produced another golfing star when Mark Pilling won the British Boys Championship at Carnoustie. This is probably the biggest prize in Junior Golf and the trophy has been won by such esteemed names in the world of golf as, Jose Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia and David Howell. Both Andrew and Mark have set high targets for future junior golfers to aspire to.
An exciting new crop of Juniors are emerging at Astbury and we look forward to seeing their progress as time goes by.